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Seeing Christi and Walker juxtaposed in national scandalerama mode, I find myself marveling at how much alike they are, and yet as different as the two states they lead.

Since both have been bandied about as GOP front runners for the 2016 election, whatever their prospects now, I can’t help but compare and contrast the choices we get to run against in the GOP these days, and I’m talking about the ESTABLISHMENT GOP, which very much still includes Walker and would have included Christi if only
that darn bridgegate thing hadn’t intruded.

You have two guys who are micro managers, despite their protestations of such, and bullies in their own different ways. Two guys who had an unlikely and not particularly lustrous rise. Two guys who both know how to throw anyone under the bus who gets in their way. Both ruthless, both as fervently right wing as the other, both seeking to hide that fact.  

But it’s the ways that they are different that are most interesting to me.

While Christi is bombastic and aggressive, Walker is bland and prone to disappearing when things get rough. Where Christi cherishes his tough guy image, Walker tries to position himself as the calm voice of reason, wouldn’t be caught dead in a Chris Christi, “ain’t I tough” You tube video.  While Christi steps up to the fight, Walker steps out---leaves town, becomes inaccessible. While Christi revels in black and white statements, Walker revels in bland non statements. While Christi has a huge personality, Walker has one that would be hard to find with a geiger counter designed to find it.

So the question is, just for the fun of the conversation, which would be more dangerous if he got away with it? And it’s a hard question, they are both formidable in their own ways when it comes to image making and control and they have both had a fair amount of luck and timing under their wings. Till now.

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here. But it is interesting to consider how such two different approaches could garner success in the GOP of today. In fact, it’s hard for me to think of any other two GOP voices that are as similar in policy and different in voice and approach.

Their final similarity, as the fates would have it, is they end up where they are today, with the sudden unpleasant smell of a bad funding investment wafting around both of them.

Perhaps the one fatal thing they share in common is a total lack of humility, the result of a rise to the national stage neither of them ever earned with hard won experience in making mistakes and getting caught out for them, earlier rather than later, and before it was too late.


Originally posted to StellaRay on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 06:10 PM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (17+ / 0-)

    "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

    by StellaRay on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 06:10:05 PM PST

  •  Thanks StellaRay. I'm beginning to suspect (8+ / 0-)

    something is just not right in Wisconsin and New Jersey. North Carolina, and Florida too.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 06:20:19 PM PST

    •  Can't speak for New Jersey, (13+ / 0-)

      but as a born and raised in Wisconsin gal, I can definitely concur that something is so not right in the Wisconsin I grew up in.

      I now live just over the river in blue Minnesota, and have for most of my adult life. It is a tale of two states. Minnesota being ever more blue, Wisconsin being ever more red. Minnesota leads in job creation and growth, by quite a bit, and so many other things I can't take the time to list them all here.

      I just don't understand what's happened to the state I grew up in, once a leader in progressive governance through Robert La Follette. And the word "progressive" here is not another word for liberal. It's a word in this context that used to mean transparency, fairness, and accountability.

      Used to be a proud tradition in Wisconsin, someplace that while I lived there never had the wink, wink, all politics are dirty and corrupt expectation New Jersey folks seem to have acclimated to. In my lifetime, I've never seen a guy like Walker tear apart the state. Not even close.


      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 06:42:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What's happened to the state you grew up in? (11+ / 0-)

        I'm in Wisconsin, and here's how I would answer that:

        1.  White flight out of Milwaukee turned the collar counties into sprawling enclaves of wealthy, white, conservatives.  The city floundered, and the suburban money didn't care.

        2.  The Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee both fed and fed on this demographic/geographic shift and became one of the major forces in national, reactionary, neo-conservative politics.  Especially riding the school voucher issue.

        3.  The media in Milwaukee -- newspapers and hard right radio -- fed the anti-urban, anti-liberal, and, yes, anti-black attitudes of their suburban white audience.

        4.  The Democratic Party establishment has long been completely clueless about how to respond, caring only about how to get to 51% in Madison and Milwaukee, and ignoring small town and rural Wisconsin in elections.  It's infuriating.  The Democrats have no plan for rural Wisconsin.

        5.  Connected to this:  the Democratic Party stopped running people in local races outside Milwaukee and Madison.  No farm team now, no major leaguers in the future.

        5.  Smart progressive young people have left the state.  In earlier generations they stayed and lived in the smaller cities and towns and rural areas.  For a generation or two now, they have gone to Chicago of the Twin Cities or out west.  They left behind their conservative family members.

        6.  Agriculture changed, and rural Wisconsin's economy and culture changed with it.  fewer farmers, bigger farms, more corporate ownership.  All of that translates into a different local political culture.

        I could go on....

        •  VERY interesting post, (7+ / 0-)

          strobusguy, w/much to think about. And I totally cop to the fact that having been raised specifically in Madison, and attending college at the U there, I was not exposed to the other sides of Wisconsin as others probably were.

          I think outside of Madison, there's a lot of truth in your #5...heck, I can see the truth in all your points.

          Thanks for adding in. Really nice post.

          "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

          by StellaRay on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 07:38:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You have a solid substantive post here strobesguy. (8+ / 0-)

          Why don't you cut and paste it into a diary to stimulate discussion.

          I would very much like our Democratic Party to pull all the stops in the upcoming 2014 elections to try to win back as many of these slipping states as possible.

          I fear we are missing clue that you seem to have.


          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 07:50:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll second that! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HoundDog, nadd2, StellaRay

            I went to high school in one of those Milwaukee suburbs, Glendale.  My parents still live there.  My sister basically grew up there, from elementary school all the way to graduating from UW Madison.  My mom is a social worker in one of the city's many social-service agencies.  She and her colleagues have elderly clients all over the city, including some of the more troubled areas.  I don't visit out there much, usually preferring to have my parents fly out to visit me on the west coast.  But from what I have seen (and heard from my parents and sister) over the past few years, strobusguy's explanation for Wisconsin's regression in so many areas in the recent past makes a whole lot of sense.

            I hope Wisconsin can recover from the destruction caused by Scott Walker and all the dark money that supports him.

        •  I fully agree with your analysis (4+ / 0-)

          When our state party has scabs on its knees from begging a multi-millionaire self-funder to run against Walker, we have serious problems.

          There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

          by Puddytat on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 10:32:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, the lack of "farm teams" (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a2nite, HoundDog, Puddytat

            is a problem in the Democratic party beyond just Wisconsin. The GOP does this very well.

            Additionally, I think there was fear of running against Walker who seemed invincible after the recall, even to Democrats.

            "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

            by StellaRay on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 09:26:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Christi is obviously seriously damaged by his (8+ / 0-)

    criminal excesses and arrogance, it will be interesting to see if the Walker malfeasance sticks. As Puddytat pointed out, the national press attention on Walker has shamed the local press to actually cover his ethical lapses. We'll see how long that lasts.

    •  nor, this is why (9+ / 0-)

      in many ways I'm tempted to answer my own question by saying Walker is the more dangerous. For all the "thug" comments about Christi and his administration, it's all so in a way, above board. Christi's personality is so out there, so easy to pick at when things go wrong.

      Walker on the other hand projects no personality, and answers to everything with bland platitudes. Disappears publicly when it comes time to fight, while vigorously working the back room for money.

      I guess to me in many ways, Christi is a bombastic failure of humility---the kind most easy to pop a hole in. Walker is the definition of the "evil of banality" at least in his public face.

      This is also, to some extent, the differences in the states and cultures they lead. Out east you say what you mean, here in the mid west, you always soft pedal it if you want to be heard.

      Still, while both men are scary in their own ways, something about Walker that creeps me out the most, in the end.  

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 06:57:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is hard to pinpoint just what it is about him (6+ / 0-)

        that is "off."  More and more, it's what I see in his eyes: soullessness.

        Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

        by ranton on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 07:13:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ranton, Puddytat, Youffraita, agiftagain, nadd2

          And in the spirit of this diary, again, it is interesting to compare the eyes of both, as in the old adage that the eyes are the window to the soul.

          With Christie, if you watch his eyes in any public performance, you'll find they are as direct and fierce as he is, even if they're lying eyes. Christi seems to approach his thing with a passion he's proud of, one that helps convince himself, and one that he does not try to hide.

          Walker OTHOH, well---like you say, not much there. No passion w/Walker, no willingness to let that much out. Folks say he has no charisma, where many think Christi has a lot of it. There is that scary thing about a guy whose pulse never seems to go up or down, no blips, no tells in his eyes. Yeah, I guess I too would call it a certain "soullessness" that I can't quite accuse Christie of.

          (LOL, I just realized I spelled Christie's name incorrectly though out my diary. Aaaaargh. As if I don't know better, but sometimes senior moments get in your way.)

          "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

          by StellaRay on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 07:28:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  LOL, I was wondering (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Puddytat, agiftagain, StellaRay

            whether to point out the misspelling but since you found it....

            I'm in PA where we have our own teahadist governor who is polling just above dead, rotten fish, and Congress.

            But from here it seems that Walker and Christie both suffer from overweening self-importance and complete arrogance: that they need not follow the rule of law b/c they are exceptional.

            English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment and education - sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. E. B. White

            by Youffraita on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 10:24:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yep! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              They are "entitled" to do what they "need" to do. Which brings up another similarity between the two, they are both incredibly ambitious. All politicians are to a point, to go through what they do to get elected, but it's that desperate ambition with a big dose of hubris that always leads them off the rails.

              "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

              by StellaRay on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 09:12:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Both would be well served to announce that... (6+ / 0-)

    ..they are NOT running for President. Especially, Christi. The constant bad press would stop, nationally, imv.

    Besides, if he were to leave New Jersey for a promotion, I doubt he would win New Jersey in a national election. Both are toast. Good riddance.

    What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

    by Cpqemp on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 07:40:21 PM PST

  •  Republished to Badger State Progressive. (5+ / 0-)

    Thanks StellaRay!

    Screw John Galt. Who's John Doe?

    by Mike Kahlow on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 07:48:45 PM PST

  •  The comparison should be with Gov. Andrew Cuomo (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ranton, StellaRay, Puddytat, agiftagain, a2nite

    Andrew Cuomo has shown no leadership in this scandal.  Why?
    In the old days the Port Authority was titled the Port of New York Authority.  Later it was changed to recognize that New Jersey was a co-equal partner.  But New York is the senior partner in this agency, created to reduce the corruption always associated with both the Port and the construction industry.  It was supposed to be an incorruptible authority above politics and dedicated to the needs of the New York/New Jersey region.It is readily apparent that the Port Authority has lost its way and the trust of the people of two states.  It needs a thorough cleaning or even abolition and replacement.  Christie has down a terrible disservice to the metropolitan area, but Cuomo has yet to call him on it.  Cuomo has much to explain to the voters.  He is no Mario, alas.

    I'm from Wall Street and I'm here to help you.

    by djohnutk on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 08:18:31 PM PST

    •  There is never a lack of comparisons (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat, Youffraita, agiftagain, a2nite, nadd2

      that are fascinating, and I get your's here.

      However, let me say imo, regarding Andrew Cuomo--- there is a lot more there in terms of public persona than is the case with Walker, and in this way, he is more like Christie than Walker, puts much more out there.

      Unless you've really followed Walker and seen him speak often, you might confuse his policies with his public persona. His policies are rabidly right wing, but his persona is not one of a rabble rouser like Christie. Don't think Walker could rabble a rouse out of anyone w/his persona. And I'll give him this, he is instinctually smart enough to know that and doesn't attempt it.

      What Walker has learned to do over a life time of making up for his shortcomings in politics, is to turn the other cheek, and lie out of the other side of his mouth, calmly, blandly, and without breaking a sweat. Something Christie has never managed, because he was never a nerd.

      In their younger lives, Christie was the political version of the football star, and Walker was the nerd Christie never even saw sitting on the sidelines. Beware of the revenge of the nerds, LOL.

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Thu Feb 20, 2014 at 08:38:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent, thoughtful diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, StellaRay, isewquilts2

    Walker has benefited from the national rise of the Tea Party combined with the establishment's need to put forward a bland and compliant stooge. He has no assets of his own except for political ambition and willingness to do anything to get ahead.

    •  Well said. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, nadd2, isewquilts2

      It's that "bland and compliant" part that hides from folks his real nature, which as you said is huge political ambition without ethical parameters, or for the matter, compassionate ones. Glad you enjoyed the diary, thanks for adding in.

      "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

      by StellaRay on Fri Feb 21, 2014 at 09:19:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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